Max Verstappen branded the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix ‘99% show and 1% sport‘ and insisted he has no interested in the entertainment promotion around the event, with John Legend and Tiesto headlining the opening ceremony.
The Las Vegas GP takes place on Saturday evening local time with qualifying set to start at midnight the day before, the late start times mean temperatures could be as low as 10 degrees Celsius for the race.
Verstappen‘s already wrapped up his third world championship for the season, and was asked how much interest he has in winning his third American race of 2023 ahead of an opening ceremony he later derided.
“This weekend? I’m looking forward to trying to do the best I can. But I’m not looking forward to this,” Verstappen told the media. “Zero interest, [it’s] 99 percent show and one percent sporting event. It’s just standing up there, looking like a clown – for me you can all skip these kinds of things. Some races you always look forward to more than others.
“Not a lot of emotions, to be honest. I just want to always focus on the performance side of things, I don’t like all the things around. I know that some places they’re a part of it, but it’s not in my interest.”
Verstappen: Liberty should ignore drivers
However, Verstappen added Liberty shouldn’t listen to drivers’ opinions on off-track matters, in the season he’s also railed against sprint races at every opportunity.
Verstappen‘s established himself as the main figurehead of the F1 paddock following Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton‘s decline since the start of 2022, but he added he only shares his opinion when asked.
“I guess they still make money if I like it or not, so it’s not up to me,” Verstappen added. “Some people like the show a bit more, I don’t like it at all.
“I grew up just looking at the performance side of things and that’s how I see it so for me, I like to be in Vegas, but not so much for racing.
“We are not a stakeholder, so we just go with it. They decide what they do, right? I would do the same if I was the owner, I wouldn’t listen to the drivers. It’s my sport, I would do with it what I want if that would be the case.”